A new report from IDC Manufacturing Insights reveals that ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) platforms are crucial for the delivery of a positive customer experience.

What’s more, the use of ERP platforms and results starkly differs between smaller (100-1,000 employees) and larger (5,000 or more employees). Consider that:

More than 90% of respondents in smaller companies indicated that their ERP has limited, little, or no contribution toward the delivery of a good customer experience. Conversely, 75% percent of large manufacturers with 5,000 employees or more said that their ERP platform effectively connects the back and front office operations and is important for delivering a good customer experience.

In the new white paper for manufacturers, “Get Customers Inspired: How Modern ERP Can Support Greater Customer Experience,” IDC Manufacturing Insights surveyed more than 460 enterprises across multiple sectors including industrial machinery and equipment, high-tech and metal fabrication in 13 countries.

“The research revealed that many manufacturers have an immature understanding of how a customer-oriented strategy can be implemented within an organization,” Pierfrancesco Manenti, head of IDC Manufacturing Insights research practice in Europe, Middle East , and Africa, said in the report. “Manufacturers need to move along the spectrum for maturity in order to continue to stay competitive. This is especially important in more mature or developed markets where relationships and service levels have now become crucial differentiators. We advise manufacturers with less than inspiring customer service to take a good look at how their systems and processes can be improved to better support a customer-oriented strategy.”

Many companies continue to describe good customer experience in terms of products or service features and functions, rather than the service level that they deliver at any touch point during the entire customer relationship, Manenti added.

According to the report, a clear link exists between successful manufacturers and their understanding and use of ERP as a strategic tool for delivering a superior customer experience. The real winners are the businesses that shift their focus from inward to outward: moving beyond better price and availability to improved service levels, reliability and relationships.

The most successful manufacturers choose ERP solutions that enable an easy evolution through the customer experience maturity model. New levels of agility, flexibility, and ease of use in modern ERP systems make it possible for businesses to transition without having to reinvest heavily as needs change and businesses grow.


Some other key statistics reveal:

  • The reality across the majority of small and mid-sized enterprises is that they possess numerous home-grown systems (nearly 40% for manufacturers with 100–1,000 employees) or no ERP at all. This creates a lack of timely information as data is stored in too many different IT systems that are loosely connected, making it difficult to influence customer satisfaction even at the most basic level.
  • Only 9% of leading companies have fully realized the importance of creating a customer-oriented culture and process workflows to generate superior customer experience.
  • Only 30% of respondents indicated continued relationships were influenced by meeting product expectations and only 6.5% based continued business with a supplier on their ability to support and deliver a product.
  • Conversely, as sellers the focus is less about cost but more about delivering a good product and service to customers. Respondents are working hard to meet product/service features and function expectations (60%) and believe their customers will continue buying if they greatly deliver and support their product and service (29.8%).







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